CUMBERLAND, R.I. — He calls himself “Pedro Curvey,” and he’s Cumberland’s king of complaints.
He’s the administrator of a Facebook group called the “Cumberland RI Crybaby Page,” and he keeps his identity secret because the internet can be a “landmine” for individuals who speak their mind.
But the 45-year-old appeared in a Zoom call with a Globe reporter and identified himself as a longtime resident of Providence County who loves to gripe.
That’s the theme of his Crybabies page, with its membership of more than 1,300 grouchy residents.
The page has a purpose. It serves a filter for the town’s social media groups — “Concerned Cumberland Parents,” “Cumberland RI Issues and Concerns,” and others — that hear more of Cumberland’s sensible complaints.
The Crybabies page features complaints about maggots in the trash cans, wayward walkers who refuse to use the high school’s pedestrian bridge, or the hellish conditions at the Arnold Mills parade.
The best part about it, though, is that the complaints are required to be rhetorical, Curvey says.
Here’s the group’s description:
“Do you have a general rhetorical complaint about the town you want to get off your chest? Did the coffee shop put too much cream in your coffee? Did the trash man leave your barrels on your lawn after emptying them?
“If you do, you found the right place, vent on this page.
“A ‘perfect’ life is achievable as long as we all list the infractions and shortcomings of this town!”
The page was created Aug. 29, 2019 after members of other local groups suggested that Cumberland’s silliest and most petty commenters take their act away from serious discussions.
“A lot of people would post trivial and petty town complaints in the groups over and over,” Curvey said. “People would comment and just trash and make fun of the person for posting it. After a while multiple people were posting that there should be a crybabies page.”
The group took less than a minute to create and quickly gained popularity in Cumberland and the surrounding communities. It is now 1,300 trolls strong.
Some of the more popular complaints include:
- “The trash did come kind of early yesterday.”
- “I was nearly driven off the road last night when a Cumberland police officer quickly buzzed up the street from behind on Menden [sic] Road. They should slow down when going to an incident. I nearly dropped my caramel brownie McFlurry. It’s very difficult to drive, hold the McFlurry in one hand and spoon it out with the other. All Without dripping it on your lap and a police cruiser trying to get by you.”
- “I’ve lived in Cumberland for 15 years and have only gone (to the Arnold Mills parade) once because it was so hot and I was traumatized.”
- “The power outages are getting worse than the rotary complaints!!”
Honorable mentions: the Mendon Road and Martin Street green light that was blacked out until about the final 50 meters (recently fixed by Rhode Island Department of Transportation); road construction; and Curvey’s personal pet peeve, the infrequently used Cumberland High School pedestrian bridge.
“Every day after the high school gets let out, the traffic is backed up in both directions for 30 or 40 minutes,” Curvey says. “There’s a footbridge the high schoolers don’t use. They use the crosswalks instead. I get it. It’s completely inconvenient the way it lets out on the other side. You have to completely walk in the other direction to get to it.”
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation spent $76,000 to fix the bridge’s worn-out walking surface, the Valley Breeze reported last year.
Curvey says high school administrators could encourage students to use the walkway and remove the crosswalk, officially or unofficially, or “dismantle the bridge.”
He knows it’s a hot take on a simple issue, but says, “What’s the point of it if we don’t use it? I bet if you put a sensor on it you’d find that 10 people use it each month.”
It’s probably much more than that, but point taken.
The Crybabies page is a form of online “anger management,” Curvey says. It can be therapeutic to whine a little.
“If you know your complaint isn’t terribly serious, and you still want to complain about it, this is a good spot,” he said. “A lot of people take things way too seriously. You have to take them down a notch sometimes. I take myself a little too seriously, too. I’ll lose my (expletive) if someone takes too much time in the McDonald’s drive through.”
Then, a little perspective: “Calm down. It’s just a cheeseburger.”
The bellyaching is pretty prominent, but members aren’t afraid to break the rules and get serious if someone asks a legitimate question, such as a request for a recommendation for a mechanic, power-washing, or thoughts on central air conditioning at the high school.
Curvey has only banished one person for what he described as racist comments.
Don’t expect to see the group franchised in other towns, though. Curvey isn’t interested in “rinse-and-repeating” the group outside his hometown.
It’s hard enough keeping up with Cumberland’s problems.